Kelsey Tessier's 5-foot-9, 168-pound frame may not be intimidating, but his production on the ice certainly has been daunting to his opponents. This past season, Tessier led the Quebec Remparts and finished 15th in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 81 points (36g/45a). He also paced the club and finished in the top-20 in the QMJHL in goals, plus/minus (+19) and power-play tallies (13).
The 18-year-old was recently selected by the Avalanche in the fourth round (110th overall) of the 2008 Entry Draft. While Tessier may be new to Colorado's organization, he is already somewhat familiar with the franchise and the state of Colorado itself. In fact, Tessier spent the 2005-06 season playing very close to the Mile High City, suiting up for the Colorado Outlaws Midget AAA squad in Westminster.
But the connection to the Avalanche's franchise doesn't end there. For the past two seasons Tessier has skated in the organization's former home of Quebec City with the Remparts. There, Tessier is coached by none other than former Avalanche great Patrick Roy.
The forward took some time during the opening day of Colorado's 2008 Development Camp to talk about his hometown, the Canada Winter Games, his experience at the NHL Draft, and much more. You grew up in New Brunswick. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
“I grew up in Moncton, which is a small town on the east coast of Canada. It's a great spot and there are a lot of beaches. Our big attraction back there is water parks. Going to the beach and playing golf are my favorite things to do there. There's some great golf.”
What are some of the lessons you've learned while playing with Quebec over the past few seasons?
“Coming in as a 16-year old you learn a lot of lessons about earning your ice time and learning where to go on the ice. Basically, you have to learn how to adapt to a whole new system.”
You played at the Canada Winter Games a few years back. For the uninitiated, could you explain what the Games are all about?
“It's actually a big event. There are actually more athletes at that event than at the Olympics. Every province plays against each other. I played in the hockey tournament with Team New Brunswick and it was a great experience. It's played every four years and it's all over Canada on TV, but nowhere else.” You're also somewhat familiar with Colorado, having played one season here with the Colorado Outlaws. “Yes. My team was based in Westminster. The weather was my favorite thing about Colorado; it's just great. You can ski, golf and play hockey all within a day. The city is great and the people are too.”
Take me through your experience at the NHL Combine.
“It was a great experience seeing every team. The testing part was definitely tough, but meeting all the guys you're battling with for draft position is great. I think I was pretty prepared about what to expect at the Combine, because I talked to a lot of my friends before.”
Explain what it felt like to hear your name called at the NHL Draft.
“It was a relief. When I learned I was going to Colorado I was thrilled because I knew that I had been there and knew the city. Then there's the connection, coming from where I play now, in Quebec City, and thinking of the organization's history there. Plus, having Patrick (Roy) as my coach is a great honor.”
Some people look at your somewhat small stature as a negative. However, being a smaller guy can have its advantages too, correct?
“I guess if you look at all the smaller guys in the NHL, they're just in a different category. They all bring something to the table whether it's their speed, ability to score or work ethic. You work a little harder because you know you might not have a second chance.”